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Isle of Wight NHS Trust gives shot in the arm to unified communications

As part of its mission to help organisations of all sizes drive digital transformation, systems integrator works with NHS Trust to ensure it can achieve improved communications service

Through enhanced integrated communications, the Isle of Wight NHS Trust said it can improve business efficiency and address the need to support staff in adopting hybrid working practices.

The Trust has partnered with Cinos to provide and manage its new telephony and unified communications (UC) offering. The Cisco Powered sovereign UC telephony service, delivered from the Cinos Cloud, will be the basis for a secure and reliable service that delivers the flexibility and robustness needed to adopt hybrid working practices.

Established in April 2012, the Isle of Wight NHS Trust provides a full range of health services to an isolated offshore population of 140,000. Based at the heart of the island, with 246 beds and handling 22,685 admissions each year, St Mary’s Hospital in Newport is the main base for delivering acute services for its population.

Looking at the communications needed to support its operations, with certain elements of its existing UC platform reaching end of life, the Trust was looking to update its unified communications infrastructure to enable new working and service delivery practices.

As part of the new deployment, Cinos said it would support the Trust to adopt a hybrid cloud strategy that provides a reliable cloud service, while still maintaining a small footprint of services on-premise. Due to the Trust’s location on an island, this approach is said to add an extra later of resilience to ensure always-on communications in the event of any interruption to the network.

The new service will be utilised by the Trust’s 3,900 employees and integrated with Microsoft Teams in line with the NHS’s wider adoption strategy. With the Cisco-powered UC platform in place, users will be able to make and receive calls from any location under one single collaboration application, as well as having the reliability of a fully featured hybrid cloud UC platform that provides additional calling services.

“With the increasing need to support our staff in adopting hybrid working practices and the ability to work from anywhere, we recognised the importance of introducing a new telephony and UC solution for the wider Trust,” said Jake Gully, digital operations manager at the Isle of Wight NHS Trust. “Simplifying the management of our telephony technology will also help to free up the Digital team to spend more time on priorities such as core infrastructure and the user experience. Alongside our hybrid approach to telephony, we recognised that we needed help with building resilience into our infrastructure. With Cinos’s expertise in this area and sector, we look forward to working together on the project and fully embedding the new solution as part of our ongoing service.”

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Marcus Garman, digital infrastructure programme manager at the Isle of Wight NHS Trust, said: “With capital investment secured by the Trust, we can now move to a comprehensive resilient voice solution built around Microsoft Teams, which is widely used nationally.

“Management of the telephony solution will be simplified, and it will enable seamless scalability to any number of sites and users,” he said. “We will have the ability to effortlessly add other functionality to improve the end user and patient experience. Once implemented in Q4 23/24, there will be significant recurrent cost reductions of circa £360,000 each year on telephony within our Trust.”

To ensure user familiarity, the Trust’s existing call recording and operator console will be upgraded and retained as part of the offering. This is designed to not only allow the Trust to retain its licensing investments, but also enable a smoother migration path, as user training will not be required for these elements during the on-boarding process.

Cinos will also provide the session initiation protocol (SIP) trunking offering to enable the Trust to migrate away from the integrated services digital network and future-proof it past the 2025 switch off. This is seen as bringing substantial cost savings on call and line rental charges.

“For hospital departments and emergency services, communications form a vital part of daily activity,” said Cinos executive director Dan Worman. “Having solutions and systems in place that are both resilient and reliable are of the utmost importance to staff and frontline healthcare workers.

“Through our healthcare and emergency services sector experience, we are proud to be partnering with the Isle of Wight NHS Trust to ensure it can achieve greater service improvements and experiences for many patients and citizens living on the island.”

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